Thursday, June 2, 2016

Medieval Arts: Gargoyles and Salt Cellars, 3rd and 4th Grade

Also known as "The Art that Didn't Make the Hall Display...Because We Ran Out of Time."

These ceramics are impressive, BUT since my previous supplier retired, I am now using a different brand of clay with a MUCH longer drying time.  After the first (almost) disastrous firing, I give it a good two weeks to dry instead of my standard one week wait, and this greatly affected finishing times for our ceramics this semester.  Therefore, this is why this awesome work was quickly photographed and sent home...the last week (or day!) of school.

To tie in with third grade's Rouault based portraiture (who was inspired by stained glass), the kiddos watched a short video about the Cathedral of Notre Dame while I hurriedly passed out clay to each of them.  Once the video was complete, there was a quick discussion about the gargoyles-what they are, why they are called gargoyles, and how they're posed (we were in a hurry for the above reasons AND most of my classes had 1 or 2 classes to get the gargoyle made from start-to-finish...with only 40 minutes per class including a 10 minute clean up).  In order for the kids to build while I was building and not waste any precious time, I made a video so they could follow along.  Keep in mind, they were all heavily encouraged to NOT copy my gargoyle.

The tongue hanging out was pretty popular, and there were some that took it to the next level-trying to lick an eyeball, hanging out the side of the gargoyle's mouth, or two tongues in one mouth.  A few added arms or wings, and several made mustaches, horns, and very pointy teeth.  Since the gargoyles on the church are plain ol' stone, we left ours white to mimic that look.  This is another Artsonia featured project, so click on the link to see them all!

4th grade also had a done-at-the-last-minute ceramics project in the form of salt cellars.  Once upon a time, salt, among other spices, wasn't as commonplace as it is today.  Those that had it made a point to display it prominently in their home in the form of a metal, or sometimes porcelain, box called a salt cellar.  Our modern day salt cellars will probably end up holding change, hair clips, or ear buds, but they will still be on display somewhere in the kids homes across the county.

They started by pounding their chunk of clay into the desired shape, then yours truly got to slice'n'dice their lid (clay wire required=teacher 's duty).  After carving out the inside and smoothing it out, they used the leftovers to make legs for the box, a knob, and any other decorations their little hearts desired.  Since the fanciness of the box determined social status, most did a nice job of adding a lot of detail all the way around with both additive and subtractive decorations.

We ended up with everything from a standard decorative box to elephants, cows, and puppies (each is above, if you can find them).  The kids painted them with gold or silver to create a faux metal look, which they love, and they were all sent home the very last week of school.  48 of them had to go home on the last day, and I hope they made the journey in one piece!

No comments:

Post a Comment